Browser Compatibility/Accessibility

Get a real browser, Junior


All pages at conform to the XHTML 1.0 Transitional and CSS 2 standards of the W3C. This site will look best when viewed at a screen resolution of at least 800 x 600 at "true color", and with a web browser that conforms to HTML, XHTML, and CSS standards. However, it will display in a very readable and orderly fashion on any browser that you use, including text-only browsers like Lynx, as well as Internet devices like web-enabled cell phones and PDAs (and yes, even outdated obsolete browsers like Netscape 4x and Internet Explorer 3x).

If you're currently reading this on a plain-looking page with no formatting, odds are that you're probably using a web browser that does not adhere to web standards and cannot render valid HTML, XHTML, and CSS properly. In other words, the site isn't "broken" - your web browser is. You're more than welcome to browse this site the same as you would if you were actually using a standards-compliant web browser (and every part of this site will be readable and accessible to you), but do know that looks soooo much cooler when viewed through a browser that does adhere to modern web standards. You do want to be cool, don't you??

It's not like you're required to have the "latest and greatest" here either: browsers that support these standards have been around for years now. Besides, upgrading browsers isn't hard, and even if you're one of those wacky anti-Microsoft zealots / conspiracy theorists, you're certainly not being pushed toward Internet Explorer have plenty of choices from a wide variety of companies. That's the whole beauty behind standards-compliance: the fact that this site was not written for any one browser whatsoever. If you are not using a browser that conforms to web standards, please realize that the sooner you do, the sooner you'll be able to experience and enjoy the web as it was meant to be. If this is the first time that a website has told you this, trust me: it won't be the last.

Time to sit at the grownups' table.


I just implemented a CSS Styleswitcher which allows visitors to the site to choose between a couple of different visual styles. And it's more than just a neat-o CSS trick that looks cool: the "vector" visual theme is more high-contrast in terms of colors, borders, and text, and should therefore be easier for some people to read.

My biggest "accessibility-compliance" gripe is that in IE/Win versions 5 and up - by default - any fixed font size declared in the CSS will override user-specified preferences for font size. What this means is that if a fixed font size is declared in the CSS, attempts at changing the font size from within the browser (by going to View » Text Size) - by default - won't work. It is possible, however, to change this default setting by going to Internet Properties » "General" Tab » "Accessibility" button, and then changing the values to your liking there.

So I'm kind of torn on the issue. The W3C Accessibility Guidelines call for using relative font sizes instead of fixed font sizes, so in theory, I should use relative font sizes if I want to be as accessibility-compliant as it can be. But the other side of this coin is that I would imagine that anyone who does need to change these values knows where to go to change IE's default setting, so it's not like anyone is unable to change the font sizes declared in the CSS if they want to. So my quandry is that on one hand, I want to stick to standards-adherence as close as I can and I want to make this site easier for people with accessibility issues, but on the other hand, it irks me to know that if I do, the site will look "off" in some browsers.

Soooo...based on all of that, my decision right now is for all font sizes on to be based on the W3C Accessibility Guidelines of using relative font sizes. For now I have the "baseline" font set to font-size:small which seems to be around 12px and looks really good on the most of the modern browsers that I've tried it on. That sucks in a way, because it now means that I can't absolutely control how the fonts on this website will look from browser to browser, but for now I'd rather put "accessibility-friendliness" and control in the hands of the site's readers over worrying about the pixel-precision of the fonts. I may change my mind on this later.

Testing and Results has been tested for compatability on the following browsers:

The following configurations load and display fine, but are known to crash the browser when the CSS Styleswitcher is used:

(For additional information about browser compatibility with the CSS Styleswitcher, please click here.)

I have tried to test the look and layout of on as many platforms and browsers as I could, but I obviously haven't tested it in every conceivable setting. If you notice any problems or anomalies with the site, or if you just have a question or a comment about how it renders on your computer, please drop me a line and let me know.


Valid XHTML 1.0!   Valid CSS!   Viewable with any browser.   Notepad now!

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